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September 3, 2006 @ 9:20 am
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Bucs News And Notes: Sunday

Written by Jim
Jim Flynn


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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off the 2006 regular season when they host the Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium in exactly one week. PewterReport.com has the latest news and notes from One Buc Place, including an injury report on guard Dan Buenning, the ongoing battle for the backup quarterback job and the team's preparation for the Ravens.

Buenning's Status Remains Uncertain
Dan Buenning, who started all 17 games at left guard for the team last season, suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter of Tampa Bay's preseason finale vs. Houston on Thursday night, and his status for the Buccaneers' regular season home opener vs. the Baltimore Ravens remains uncertain.

"He's doing okay," Gruden said of Buenning. "He's hobbling around a little bit. He's a tough guy. We'll update the injury report on Wednesday."

Should Buenning not be able to play against Baltimore, Jeb Terry or Sean Mahan likely would start at left guard in his place. However, Gruden remains somewhat confident that Buenning will be ready to play when the team kicks off the season vs. the Ravens.

"I wouldn't make any assumptions right now, or at least not until Wednesday," said Gruden. "Jeb is on the team for good reason, and we've got some other guys that can play over there. But we expect Buenning to be back soon."

Backup QB Job Still Up For Grabs
Chris Simms is Tampa Bay's undisputed starting quarterback, but the competition behind him remains stiff as Tim Rattay and rookie Bruce Gradkowski await head coach Jon Gruden's decision in terms of which player will serve as Simms' backup when the Bucs kick off the regular season vs. the Ravens on Sept. 10.

"I don't know," Gruden said when asked which player would back up Simms vs. the Ravens. "I think that's something we'll decide on a weekly basis. We'll base that on performance. But we do like our young quarterback, and we think Tim Rattay's experience in the regular season could help our team tremendously. We'll make that decision later in the week."

Gradkowski, a sixth-round pick out of Toledo, had an impressive preseason, completing 45-of-61 (73.7 percent) of his passes for 511 yards and tossing five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Rattay completed 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) passes and tossed no touchdowns and two interceptions in preseason.

The competition could heat up even more if Luke McCown, who is on the physically unable to perform, returns to action when he's eligible in Week 6.

Bucs In Process Of Assembling Practice Squad
Tampa Bay is in the process of putting together its eight-man practice squad. The Bucs are expected to sign several players that they released Saturday to the taxi squad within the next 24-48 hours.

Parting ways with some of his players wasn't easy, but Bucs head coach Jon Gruden likes the Bucs team he and his coaching staff have assembled for the 2006 regular season.

"We're a pretty injury-free football team, and we feel like we have some newcomers that have proven they can play," said Gruden. "We realize we did everything we could to give everybody a fair chance. I like the group of guys we have."

Quote of the Day
Bucs head coach Jon Gruden on when his team began preparing for the Baltimore Ravens

"We started thinking about Baltimore as soon as we got the schedule. But it's hard to put together any official thoughts in terms of a game plan until you know who is on your team and who is on their team. We have been working on the Ravens for sometime. They're obviously a difficult opponent to open up with. They have a very unorthodox defensive scheme. They're talented, and they have a very unique scheme, and that's a problem. They have a new quarterback that's going to change a lot of things. I think [Steve] McNair is going to change matters tremendously, so we have a lot to prepare for."

If you liked this story, be sure to get the inside scoop and more detailed information on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offseason and training camp with a Pewter Insider premium subscription.

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